Q & A with Lynn from WiseBread.com
Welcome to PeopleJam's Q & A's, a regular feature where we interview influential life improvement authors, bloggers, PeopleJam members and individuals.
For this outing, we interviewed Lynn, founder of WiseBread.com, one of the most helpful personal finance blogs on the Internet with a treasure chest of great articles on how to save money.
PJ: Lynn, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Lynn: I spent a few years in advertising and promotions at CBS/King World Productions. I realized that it wasn't a job I loved, so I decided to take a break to find my passion. I've always loved to write, and when the opportunity came to be a part of Wise Bread, I jumped.
PJ: What lead up to you creating Wise Bread?
Lynn: We (Greg, Will, and I) were big fans of blogging, were bloggers ourselves, and saw that there might be a trend towards community blogging. A blog is a lot for one person to manage and maintain, especially a popular one. We saw burnout and loss of quality to be a very likely result of running a popular blog on your own. We wanted to follow the footsteps of big blog networks that sought to provide support for probloggers. But we wanted to do it differently: rather than create a network of solo blogs, we'd bring bloggers together by putting them on one site. We picked personal finance as the first topic to create a community blog for, because it was a topic the three of us were interested in.
PJ: What's the number one lesson that creating and running Wise Bread has taught you?
Lynn: Bloggers aren't just writers. They build relationships and community. They are marketers, advertisers, PR agents, reporters, experts, and more. Writing is just one part of the overall role of a blogger, and is only partly responsible for the success of a site. Unlike writing for the The New Yorker, blogging doesn't require great writing skills -- passable writing works. But blogging requires great communication skills. Yes, quality content is crucial to the long term health of a site, but it's the marketing that makes it successful. There are tons of bloggers writing about the same thing you're writing about. It's not the better writer who gets the book deals, interviews, or exposure. It's the better blogger who spent more time creating real relationships, building up reader community, and getting exposure for the site outside of the site itself. Bloggers are now in a class of their own, and can no longer be classified as merely writers.
PJ: Why do so many find it hard to save money?
Lynn: Because we don't really have to. Before massive credit card lines were made available to anyone, people were forced to live within their means and save -- there was no alternative. Now however, credit cards are used for emergency funds, non-essential purchases, and convenience. It's not so convenient when the bill comes, though. And what makes it worse? You only need to pay a fraction of what you owe.
PJ: Have you personally seen the effects of our current recession, either in your own life or in your readers'?
Lynn: It's been tough for everyone, and I feel for those who are most impacted with job and home losses. But I'm optimistic that we'll all bounce back from this, a little roughed up but for the better. Maybe we'll all finally go back to buying what we can afford, and saving up for big purchases.
PJ: Any New Year's resolutions for 2009?
Lynn: I gave up giving myself resolutions a long time ago, due to my lack of follow through. But for Wise Bread, we have a lot in store for next year, and we're working hard to make sure those plans are pulled through.
PJ: What's the one piece of advice you would give to others looking to improve their finances?
Lynn: We are adapters. We've adapted to a certain lifestyle that we can't afford, and think we can't be happy without. But it's just as easy to adapt to another lifestyle -- one we can afford, and yes, still be happy! Happier actually, because we'll have less debt and more cash. More for less -- that's the Wise Bread motto.
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Here's what some of our readers are saying about WiseBread.com:
- "A great site full of tips, tricks and information anyone will find useful. For those that have already read several books on personal finance, the witty and delightful commentary along with the articles and tips is an excellent compliment to things you are already doing." - chrysnblue
- "I always thought it was all about the Benjamins to be living large and the concept of living large on a small budget was simply unfathomable to me. That was until I found Wise Bread. The site is jammed packed with wonderful suggestions and advice to frugal living from spectacular DIY projects to information on career and income. It’s definitely where I go to get the skinny on the cheap thrills as well as tips on my personal finances." - HandsomeWaltz